Antec Three Hundred Two Case ReviewBluePanda - November 7, 2012
» Discuss this article (13)
Taking off the slightly spring-loaded side panels gives us a nice look inside the case. There's a fan in the rear, a fan up top (you can see the cable hanging down), and a pretty basic build everywhere else. A sealed bag of screws, zip ties, and HDD mounts are zip tied tightly to the drive bay area. It's safe to say you won't hear anything rattling around when it gets in unless something is completely broken. Turning it around to the back side reveals a pretty clean look with not too much to talk about. There are a few places to run a zip tie through to hold up cables and a few small openings for cable routing. Otherwise it looks like a pretty standard "behind the motherboard" area.
Getting in a little closer shows us that the upper three mounts to the 5.25" external drives have quick lock mounts. You simply press on the right edge of the mount to open and let go to close. A spring keeps it closed so there's no need for screws. If you recall from the other side, these mounts are not over there. There are also no screw holes, so let's hope one latch is enough. Down below there is room for six HDD's to be mounted. There are also six sets of HDD rails included to mount your drives old school style. They do fit in quite nicely though, as I snuck an old drive of mine in for a test fit.
While I have the case open I thought I'd show you the two fans mounted in the case. You might notice the top fan has a cable drawn taught across the fan itself. Unfortunately, that's the way it was shipped. It plugs the fan into the controller on the back, however, it's tight enough that it might just wreak havoc with the fan blades after they start spinning. In the end, I un-mounted the fan to rotate it around giving it a little slack to clear the path of the blades. In all it wasn't too much trouble, but it was not a pleasing task to have to perform on a new case. The fan header cables are also rather short; be sure you plan for either a unique motherboard location or some extensions in your build. The cables for the front I/O panel are all nicely taped down to the bottom inside of the case to keep them all neatly bundled (the tape didn't leave sticky gunk either!).
Moving those cables aside you can see the grid below the PSU mount. There's plenty cutout for airflow and a neat little fan filter as well. You might not have noticed it from the external case pictures but the filter is actually external (you can see it there at the bottom edge of the case). Even when the case is closed up, you can pull the filter out to get rid of all the dust. I find it funny how fan filters are becoming the "standard" thing in cases these days.
I previously mentioned the "springs" for the side panels, and here's a closeup of one on the back edge of the case. You simply slide the front of the panel in behind the front bezel and push it closed. You can then easily fit the thumb screws in on the back of the case and you're done. It makes it easy to cram all those cables in the back side of the case if you don't have a modular power supply. However, if you look at the next picture there's a heck of a lot of room back behind the motherboard tray for just that – cable cramming. There's a whole 2cm back there from the motherboard tray to the edge. The panel does close flat, but 2cm is more than you'll find in most cases in this size/price range. That worry about fitting a normal-thickness fan back here isn't a concern anymore. I mounted a fan I had laying around, and it fits with room to spare. This feature is a little bit of gold for this case, and it's the little details that make it stand out amongst the crowd.
That little bag from inside the case turned out to have a neat little assortment of random screws for your use and 12 drive rails (6 sets) for mounting drives. A little guide/instruction book was included to help you figure out exactly where to put things and what to do with all the accessories. The guide helps in the process of figuring out what to do with your SSD as there doesn't seem to be mounting methods. In reality there are two locations…
Putting it all together wasn't too difficult. Like I said, there's an exceptional amount of room behind the motherboard tray that made hiding cables relatively easy (even with the massive opening by the HDD bays). Everything packed in behind the motherboard tray nicely. The SSD could have been mounted in two different locations (you don't have to let it sit like I did). Sadly the proposed SSD locations will be a bit difficult to deal with for most people. The first location (provided by the manual) is the back of the motherboard tray, the other location is to the left of where it actually is in the bottom of the case near the PSU. Call me lazy, call me crazy, but the SSD liked the cable bed better.
It was a little bit of a snug fit with the CPU cooler, but it all fit and the case closed just fine (to be fair I've had closer calls). The gray tone from the unfinished inner panels isn't a favorite and makes the cables look rather messy. However, once you throw a panel on, no one will know. All in all, the Antec Three Hundred Two provided a decent build. Powered up and running, it has two nice little blue LEDs to show you that it's on and that the HDD is in operation. It's a pretty solid build.